When you RV full-time, you always seem to need some necessity: a hairstylist, laundromat, grocery store, post office, veterinarian…. Thank goodness for the Internet! I’m not sure when “Google” became a verb, but Google has been a lifesaver when we need to find “stuff”.
Get a referral from a friend.
Depending on what you’re in need of and where you are camped, asking someone you know is always a good idea. Generally, when you’re RVing full-time you aren’t close to anyone who can give you a referral, so this doesn’t help much.
Recently, Jim needed a dentist and we were 500 miles from our regular one. I started my search by calling our dentist and asking if he knew someone in the area. He didn’t but he did make a good recommendation. He said that we would be best served by finding a dentist with their own practice instead of going with a big corporate operation. Of course, this was his opinion, but I trust him and it give me a starting point.
Check Google Maps.
Next, I Googled (that verb again) dentists near me on Google Maps. I started by eliminating those that seemed like corporate dentist offices. I picked several that were in the vicinity of our campsite.
Always read the reviews.
The next step in finding necessities while RVing, is to read the Google reviews. I can’t stress enough how valuable these reviews are. In fact, when we find a service we like (or dislike), we always leave a review.
In addition to the reviews, I look at the pictures attached to the listing. Sometimes you can’t tell much from pictures, but it helps be decide if a place looks clean and well-maintained. Again, this is just a guess.
Check out the provider’s website.
To help firm up my decision, I check out the provider’s website. Does it look professional? What services do they provide? In the case of my dentist example, I wanted to know what the dentist’s qualifications, training, specialties and experience were? Then it was just a phone call to confirm that they could help with Jim’s particular problem.
These steps work for finding any necessities while RVing. It might be a veterinarian for your dog or a hair stylist for yourself. Doing a little up front leg work takes some of the guessing out of your decisions.
How to get groceries while RVing.
Groceries are slightly different. In every part of the country we visit there are a variety of different local grocery stores. If you’re a food connoisseur, you probably will enjoy checking out what these stores have to offer. As for myself, I hate grocery shopping. Because of COVID-19, we’ve been using curbside pickup when it’s available. I hate to name names, but Walmart is my go-to grocery store. Their brands are pretty standard, and I don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out if the peanut butter has added sugar or not. (My pet peeve.) There are occasionally differences in different parts of the country, but nothing too significant.
Getting prescriptions on the while RVing.
As Baby Boomers, we take more and more prescription medicines every year. We currently use Walmart’s pharmacies for our refills. They are very cooperative about transferring prescription and insurance information from one store to another. Not to mention, Walmart has stores everywhere. CVS and Walgreens also have stores almost everywhere. They provide the same service.
Other necessities needed while RVing.
Particularly because of the pandemic this past year, we order almost everything online. Amazon, Walmart and many independent shops all have online ordering. You can buy almost anything on Amazon and I have; everything from dental floss to dog food. I use an Amazon credit card that gives us 5% back on our purchases. I pay this card off every month so I don’t get too carried away when I’m shopping. Walmart and Target are also good places to find just about anything online.
Where to have online orders delivered?
When you’re RVing, where to have those necessities delivered can be a problem. If you’re staying at an RV park for any length of time, most will gladly accept packages and mail for you. With two-day delivery, this is a great way to get your packages.
Amazon also has “hub spots” where you can have your orders sent. These spots are either hub lockers or businesses that accept and hold packages for you. The lockers are just that, lockers. When your order ships, Amazon sends you a locker number and a pass code to open it. You must pick up your package within 3 days or it is automatically returned. In addition, some businesses have contracted with Amazon to receive and hold packages for you. Both services are free of charge. The downside is that locations are few and far between.
Another option is to have your order sent to a storefront mail service, like UPS or another independent shop. You need to let them know you’re sending a package to them and there’s usually a fee for each package they take delivery of. Fees range from $5 to $10.
Big Box Stores.
When this pandemic ends and you’re ready to shop in stores again, big box stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target and Walmart will all be good options for necessities while RVing. They have locations throughout the country and all their stores carry similar merchandise.
RVing is a minimalist lifestyle.
When you’re RVing, you’re limited in the amount of space you have to collect and store more “stuff”. That’s a good thing for me. It keeps me from spending money on things I really don’t need. Of course, you will always have certain necessities while RVing. Finding them isn’t as hard as it seems. It just takes a little legwork.